Century-Old-Property Known as the “Most Haunted Hotel”
Grand Galvez honors its resident ghosts with tours by the Ghostess and a costumed Bride Ball in October
- An image reportedly captured in an original press photo taken in 1911, hangs in the west loggia of the hotel. Many guests claim to clearly see the ghost of a gentleman standing in front of a French door politely tipping his bowler hat.
- Certain spirits seem to appear quite clearly to guests, who can describe their appearance in detail. One of these is a little girl about three feet tall who plays just outside the spa. Her blond pigtails are tied with ribbon, and she is wearing a white dress with black “Mary Jane” shoes, a popular style in the early 20th century. She has been heard to whisper “ice cream” into the ears of passerbys. This can be explained by the fact that the hotel soda fountain and ice cream parlor used to be where the spa is now located.
- She might also be one of the tiny ghosts that leave child-sized handprints along the bottom of the glass spa door. Employees confirm that, though they may wipe them off multiple times a day and never see the children in the area, the small prints quickly reappear.
- In September 2009, Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab featured Hotel Galvez while investigating a correlation between weather and the paranormal. The hotel was also included in an episode on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Stories called the “Ghost of Sister Katherine.”
- The most famous ghost and a classically tragic story of the Grand Galvez is named Audra, also known as the Lovelorn Bride. Audra was engaged to a mariner who sailed out of the Port of Galveston. In the mid-1950s, she checked into Room 501 to await his return, after which they planned to be married. Each day, she would walk down the hall of the fifth floor, take an elevator to the eighth floor and then climb a narrow ladder leading to one of the four turrets atop the hotel. Sitting inside the shelter of the hexagonal turret, she would watch though an opening for his ship to return.
When she received the news that her lover’s ship had gone down in a storm with all hands on deck, she refused to abandon hope. She kept her vigil of returning to the turret to watch for him, but after several days the heartbroken bride-to-be accepted that she would never see him again. In despair, she hung herself in the west turret, where she had last seen his ship sail out to sea. As if her story was not tragic enough, a few days after her death, her fiancée came looking for her at the hotel. It seems that he had been rescued by a passing ship during the storm.
- The images of a young girl bouncing a red ball has been seen multiple times through the years by guests, staff and workmen, the ball makes no sound as it bounces off the hard floor, and her form seems to slowly fade as she walks, uninterested in those who watch her.
- An unnerving bit of décor at the Grand Galvez has kept a watchful eye on the occurrences of the hotel since it opened in 1911. The portrait of the hotel’s namesake, Bernardo de Gálvez, hangs in the second floor landing facing the hotel’s main lobby. Legend has it that the extremely white eyes of the painting follow guests as they walk by.
- Because of its reputation, visitors often attempt to photograph the painting but end up with a skull-shaped glare where the face should appear in the photo.
- Staffers insist that this can be avoided by asking the infamous portrait’s permission before a photo is taken.
- The story of Sister Katherine, a nun from St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum, which was located just down the beach from where the Grand Galvez was built. During the height of the 1900 Storm, the brave sisters of he orphanage lashed children to themselves to keep them from washing away. Tragically, all nuns and orphans drowned. The bodies of Sister Katherine and her wards, still tied together, were found on the shore in front of where the hotel now stands. As with many storm victims, they were buried where they were found. Witnesses and guests at the hotel claim to see the figure of a nun in a long, dark habit protectively pacing the southern lawn of the hotel and looking out to sea whenever, a major storm approaches.
- Dedicated Sister Katherine continues to keep watch over the playful spirits of the children, to whom many of the shortly pranks in the hotel are credited.
- To this day, there are many paranormal events that happen in Audra’s Room 501, reported by guests, staff and numerous news and film crews.
- The key sometimes doesn’t work and when reported to the desk clerk, the key was scanned for the room code and the display read “Expired 1955”.
- The room phone has been known to repeatedly ring when the switchboard reports that no calls were received.
- There are reports of a woman walking the halls and whimpering sobs near the elevators. Guests have felt the pressure of something invisible sitting next to them on the bed.